Snowy New Mexico — El Morro National Monument to Grants and beyond

Sunday, May 1 (continued)

In the last episode, a storm of rain, sleet, snow, and hail has RVSue and the crew stalled in Fence Lake, New Mexico.  The Perfect Tow Vehicle and Best Little Trailer sit next to a deserted community center waiting for instructions — to stay or to go.

During a lull in the storm, I make a decision.

“I don’t want to sit here all afternoon and wake up tomorrow in this dreary parking lot.  The road isn’t icy.  We can make it to El Morro.  Let’s go!”

P1110100 Fence Lake Community Center and Reggie’s noggin

Route 32 takes us north about 35 miles through mostly uninhabited desert. 

About the time we enter the Zuni Indian Reservation, a wet snow is falling and the wipers are slapping the windshield at high speed.

P1110101Stormy sky — Route 32 north from Fence Lake, New Mexico

 We reach the intersection with Route 53 and turn eastward.

It’s still snowing twenty miles or so later when the sign for El Morro National Monument appears.

We turn toward the campground and another sign warns “RV limit — 27 feet.”

I don’t care if the limit is two feet.  We’re goin’ in.  I’ve had enough for one day!

El Morro’s campground consists of one small loop on a slope.

We cruise the loop looking for a site, passing a guy with a tent and then a campsite occupied by a big fifth wheel longer than 27 feet.  The sites are not very level.  I find two sites that would work for us. Plenty long enough.

I choose the most level of the two and back in the BLT.

“Whew!  We’re here!” I announce to the crew as I lift them out of the PTV.

“It’s cold and it’s snowing.  But we’re here!”

Hurriedly I chock the wheels and throw down the blue mat.  The crew briefly investigates the campsite.

P1110102The falling snow doesn’t show in the photos.

After a few minutes the three of us are eager to go inside the BLT.   I fire up the Wave 3 heater.

P1110104Bridget handles cold better than Reggie and I do.

Soon it’s warm and cozy inside!

I heat up chicken noodle soup.  As is our custom, Bridget and Reggie get the warm chunks of chicken and I get the vegetables, noodles and broth.  This arrangement is indicative of the hierarchical structure of our family unit . . .

Of which I’m at the bottom.

Large, wet snowflakes splat against the window as we eat. 

Even though the crew hasn’t had much exercise today, after lunch they curl around their warm bellies and nap.

While they sleep I urge the air card to find a signal for internet.

Nothing!  Errrrgghhh!  I want internet and I want it NOW!

Later Reggie and I sprint around the campground loop while Bridget, in her wisdom, lolls and luxuriates underneath the warm bed covers.

Reg and I pause at an empty campsite in order for me to take this next photo.  Not great, but, hey, it’s freezing out!

P1110106El Morro Campground is free.  It has one vault toilet and shared water spigots.

Monday, May 2

P1110107Don’t be fooled by the bright, blue sky.  The miracle of editing gives the impression of a warm day when it definitely ain’t.

It’s cold!

Well, well, well.  Here we are at El Morro Campground and it’s miserable outside. 

If you’d like to see the wonders of El Morro National Monument, follow that link because I’m sure as h*ll not going to traipse around freezing my camera and butt off taking pictures and looking for inscriptions in rock.

After breakfast I throw the mat and chocks in the PTV and we leave!

“Arrivederci, amigos!  We’re off to the Wal-Mart in Grants!”

P1110111Rocks, trees, grass . . . Paper, rock, scissors

Route 53 winds eastward from the national monument around the southeastern end of the Zuni Mountains.  It takes us past the Bandera Ice Cave (brrr… No thank you!).

Here are a few shots of Route 53 to Grants, New Mexico.

P1110113“Over the mountain and through the woods of Cibola National Forest we gooooo . . . . ”

P1110114“Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too . . . ”

P1110115“Come on, it’s lovely weather, for a sleigh ride together with you.”

P1110117Okay.  Enough with the pictures of snow.

In Grants I give the crew a quick walk-about, gas up the PTV, and stock up on groceries at Wal-Mart.

Good heavens . . . The crew was almost out of skinless, boneless chicken breasts for me to cook!  Oh, my!

We board Interstate-40 and roll northwest.

P1110118Right to where some of this blog’s readers thought we’d go!

“Internet connection at last, internet connection at last.  Thank God Almighty, WE HAVE INTERNET CONNECTION AT LAST!”



“RVSue and her canine crew” is an Amazon Affiliate.  I appreciate those of you who use the links on my blog to go shopping at Amazon.  Here are some of the items recently purchased by readers:

Cleansing Cloths
Wireless Weather Station
Midwest Farmers Daughter
Grumbacher Opaque Watercolor Set
Travel Collapsible Dog Bowl, Set of 3
2 Bike Carrier with Bumper Adapter

P1110123Bluewater Lake as seen from the campground when we arrive


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82 Responses to Snowy New Mexico — El Morro National Monument to Grants and beyond

  1. Dan (MI) says:

    Hi again

  2. Dan (MI) says:

    Sitting here reading your last post and “boom” new post!
    Now I have to read both?

  3. Pat McClain says:


  4. Colleen from Alabama says:

    OMG what I have to look forward to. You’re an inspiration. Thank you.

  5. Pat McClain says:

    Can’t believe this! I never thought I’d hit this high since I don’t get the posts until plus or minus 6PM! Beautiful pictures Sue, as usual.

  6. Cynthia in San Clemente says:

    In the top ten!!!!

  7. Norman in San Diego says:

    Hi Sue,

    Very nice pictures of New Mexico. A little snow adds to the excitement of camping and as always you sure find the nicest campsites!

    Hope all is going well.


    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Norman. You’re right. A little snow makes it exciting…. says a guy in San Diego! 🙂

  8. Ronda western WA says:

    Looks pretty great actually ❄️ I think snow is pretty as long as I don’t have to drive in it and looks like the roads are clear.
    Love the pictures Sue. Did you let the crew play in the snow? Didn’t see pics of them. Keep warm

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ronda,

      Where we camped, the snow didn’t stick. The snow on the ground is at higher elevation. So, no, the crew didn’t play in the snow. 🙂

  9. Sue, you sure are in some cold weather. Brrrr, I would be with Bridget all snuggled up while Connie and Pepper were out getting exercise.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lisa,

      Ha! That’s one thing I can’t do now that I was able to do when I had a fenced back yard. When the crew goes out, I have to go out, too!

  10. Velda says:

    My family enjoyed as I read this post to them. Mel agrees, you have a special way of combining entertaining story with information about places, RVing and life. He looked at your photos today and exclaimed, I’ve been there! And oh that’s not much snow! Lol
    Anyhow Sue and crew, we like traveling with you!

  11. Lynn Brooks says:

    Glad you’ve landed safely and WITH INTERNET!!!!
    Lynn B. (Baltimore)

  12. Marilyn Moore NW AZ says:

    Looks like our weather caught up with you. Still taking down broken branches from trees and bushes.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Marilyn…. Springtime in the Southwest…. some crazy weather, right?

  13. Lee J in Northern California says:

    My daddy used to say the only thing between New Mexico and the North Pole was a barbed wire fence…do you agree?

    Love your post! As always, wonderful storytelling and photos.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you. That’s a cute saying, Lee J. Our parents leave us with little sayings that stay with us all our lives.

  14. Cynthia in San Clemente says:

    Oh, I’m so disappointed you didn’t put on your boots and “walk 10 miles through the ice and snow” to photograph the ice cave for us!! Just kidding – I’d be snuggled up under the covers with the furballs too. Hope it’s warmer where you are now!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you for understanding why I skipped the Ice Cave. Can you imagine? On a day like that?

      Yes, it is warmer . . . somewhat.

  15. Pookie in Todd Mission Tx says:

    WOW……..Blue Water State Park…………
    me and the misses visited this park in 1968 on the way to Vegas….
    big storm came in late that nite and almost blew our tent away….
    havent thot of that place in many, many years…….thanks for the
    we were married in 1964 and this was to be our honeymoon that
    we didnt get…..coming home we spent the nite at the Grand Canyon
    campgrounds where it snowed during the nite………this was my first
    experience with snow when I was 23……HA……Im a Texas Boy!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Chuck,

      You were snowed on while tenting on a delayed honeymoon. Well, that must’ve been cozy! 🙂

      How nice that my blog brought back memories from 1968. Give a hug to Mrs. Chuck from me for Mothers Day!

    • DesertGinger says:

      I wish I had a memory like yours. I can’t remember many things.

      • Pookie in Todd Mission Tx says:

        I can remember the 40’s and 50’s and 60’s like it happened yesterday….
        what I have trouble with is remembering what happened yesterday and
        last week……….short term memory is shot….
        the older I get the more of think of the past…..HA…..:)

  16. Gingerita in NE Indiana ( for now) says:

    Snow, yuck lol. At least you and the crew are warm and cozy. Did you treat yourself to a rotisserie chicken? Hope it warms up to more acceptable temps!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Gingerita,

      You know I went over to Wal-Mart’s deli and there were the chickens rolling around on the spits, nowhere near done. It was early in the morning. I did get the raw chicken to cook for the crew’s breakfasts.

  17. AZ Jim says:

    What a crazy world. We measure location by how many bars on the signal strength meter. Oh well such is the life of Missy Sue and her canine crew. You left here too soon this year. It is 78 degrees.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jim,

      The only thing crazy is the way I chase after internet for this blog! 🙂 Ooh, 78 degrees. That’s what I call perfect. As for leaving too soon, I’m beginning to think I’ll never figure out when’s the best time to leave southern AZ and where’s the best place to go in springtime.

  18. weather says:

    Your photo of the El Morro National Monument is better than the one they open with of it in the link you provided. In yours one is able to see the angles and cuts in the stone that give it the sculpted appearance .Theirs has too much color and shadow for that to be seen well. Since that is the fascination with some ancient stone formations/structures in New Mexico and many other places on earth for those of us interested in the histories and mysteries associated with them your pic wins a prize in my book 🙂

    Your decision to not stay overnight in Fence Lake makes good sense when taking everything you mentioned into consideration. So does your not freezing just to get photos, ha! My favorite part of the story today is warm and cozy inside, you three share soup, the pups curl around their warm bellies and nap…such a tender, sweet, touching scene.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s a shame that I didn’t explore El Morro so I could report on it here and show more photos. I understand there are some great hikes with fascinating, historical carvings by pioneers and going back to the earliest inhabitants. I didn’t even attempt the visitor center. I didn’t want to leave the crew waiting in the PTV without the heater on, and I find it hard to focus on that sort of thing when it’s a travel day.

      Ha! You like our coziness. We are like a trio of gnomes, huddled together with our soup and bed covers. Again, I’m thinking in cartoons! 🙂

      Thank you for the compliment on the El Morro photos. I do dislike the way photographers colorize their photos beyond what is natural. Really turns me off. Much of the beauty of nature is in its subtleties. Humans are the ones who like to create garish, tiring-to-look-at forms. Why mess with Mother Nature, right? 🙂

      • weather says:

        Your gnome cartoon is funny! Going by the widget it seems we’re both in for another cool damp day. It rained overnight here in central NY, I got up and saw the trees swaying in the cold wind. I couldn’t agree more with you about not messing with the beauty of nature…may it and other things you treasure make this a wonderful day for you.

  19. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Wow #19 and I read the post. Thank goodness you have internet at last!. This site looks really pretty, sure hope the weather clears and you get some nice sunshine and rest.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you, Barbara. I hope your weather has settled down to something pleasant, too.

  20. Applegirl NY says:

    Lots of action in this post. Snow, wow. It’s one of those rare times when you are experiencing colder weather than we are. Hunkering down in a cozy camper with some chicken noodle soup and two lovable critters sounds like the perfect way to spend a chilly day. So glad you got your internet connection back, though.

    So….. is the 27′ limit on just the camper length or the combo with the tow vehicle? I’ve read mixed opinions on the matter and always wondered. Sue, do you or any of the blogorinos know the official answer? Does it vary according to campground?

    Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow, for all of you who are mothers or who have mothers!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you. Happy Mothers Day to you, Applegirl.

      About camper/RV limits at campgrounds. I’ve tried to figure that out for years. I’ve asked and received different answers. One looks at the sign and wonders: Is the limit due to the tight switchbacks on the way TO the campground? Is the limit for the trailer only? Is the limit for the combination TT and tow vehicle?

      The PTV and BLT are 17 ft + 17 ft for a total of 34 ft. At the Navajo NM the sign said the limit was 28 feet. It was a very tight fit for us (the PTVs front bumper was an inch out of the campground road), but we did fit.

      At El Morro the limit was 27 feet according to the sign. There were three campsites where our 34 feet would fit with no problem at all.

      At a campground in Oregon (forget the name right now), we squeezed into a site that was about 22 feet in length, by parking the BLT at an angle and putting the PTV crosswise in front of it (parallel to road).

      It’s an ongoing mystery!

      • Applegirl NY says:

        OK, I thought that might be the case. I guess common sense would be the rule of the day.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          The problem is you don’t know what the situation is until you drive all the way into the campground. I’ve read these limits online when researching for our next camp and asked myself, “Should I risk it?” So far we’ve managed fine with these limits.

  21. Linda Rose, Muffin, Murphy, Molly & Midgy in Carmichael, CA says:

    When it’s that cold I always worry about the roads getting icy. Glad you didn’t have any of those problems. I’ve done a couple of Amazon purchases and hoping you got credit. I put items in my cart and then go to your site to shop Amazon from there. Bought my first flat screen tv. Is my method preventing you from getting credit? If so, I will change my method. Stay warm, give your crew a hello from my crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda Rose,

      No, I don’t get any commission on items you buy when you enter Amazon from a portal other than my blog. It doesn’t matter if you finalize the transaction after going through my blog.

      I’ll make it clear for everyone: Use a link or ad to go to Amazon. Put items in your cart (not a wish list). Go to check out. Finish the transaction.

      I wish you didn’t tell me about the flat screen tv. 🙁 Ha! Oh well, your intentions were good. Thank you for that.

      • Applegirl NY says:

        Oh no. I know I’ve done that quite a few times because I use my shopping cart as a reminder list and often things are in there for quite a while before I make a purchase. I feel terrible.

        So…. we should remove any items from our cart and then go through your portal and make our purchases?

        I’m really glad this came up, because I never would have known.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          No, don’t remove anything and come back. That’s seen as manipulation and is a Big No-No. I don’t think it works anyway to “redo” a bunch of items. Thanks anyway.

          The idea behind the Affiliate program is gaining customers and sales as a result of what one sees at the Affiliate’s site. To shift what’s already in one’s shopping cart over to an Affiliate at the end of shopping isn’t in line with that basic purpose of the program.

          If you want to use your shopping cart as a reminder list, go to Amazon from my blog whenever you shop.

      • Linda Rose, Muffin, Murphy, Molly & Midgy says:

        Darn, I’m sorry. I will mend my ways. It wasn’t a big TV, only $200 but I will mend my ways from now on and start and finish the whole transaction from your blog.

  22. Pauline in Mississippi says:

    Snow!!! No wonder you moved out of there fast. I know you don’t like the cold weather. Glad you are able to keep snug and warm.
    Curious to learn where you will be heading this summer. More adventures for us just around the corner.
    Love to you and the crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pauline,

      I’m curiouis to learn where we will be heading this summer, too. I thought we’d spend more time in New Mexico. We need to get out of NM. It’s too early for the mountains and the lower elevations are Indian reservations. And I don’t want to go southward. All this makes it tough for an ol’ boondocker like me!

      Love to you and the whole family, including your crew. Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow!

  23. Yeah, there’s a cell tower just down the road from Bluewater Lake. Too bad you’re not there in better weather, though. I hope you see the wild horses, though.

  24. Ladybug in Mid-Tenn says:

    Ahhh….not far from the huge truck stop at Jamestown. Spent lots of time there. LOL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Ladybug . . . You have a soft spot in your heart for truck stops, eh? Miss them? 🙂

  25. Jim Rauch says:

    Hey Sue, we still follow you. We went by Bluewater State Park the other day.We are in Barstow on our way to Alaska for six months. Safe travels and keep the crew happy. Vickie and Jim.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Vickie and Jim… Thanks.. Good to see you here! Have a safe, enjoyable stay in Alaska…

  26. EmilyO in NM says:

    Here we are in southern NM with wind and dust and you have snow. Had another opps in my life (after falling off the ladder last month) when my right ankle gave out under me and I fractured the fibula bone. Have a splint on now, until the swelling goes down and then a cast for 4 to 6 weeks. Guess no partying for me for awhile. The crutches and walker are the pits, but am learning and picking up hints of how to make life easier.
    You stay careful.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Gosh, Emily! Another accident! Hope you heal soon and can toss those crutches…

  27. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    I like your rock formation that looks like our founding fathers up on top ha. When the Navaho wars were over Kit Carson moved them to Texas thinking that was best but the Indians didn’t like Texas at all and finally the Army gave in to them and moved the whole tribe back to Arizona where they have been ever since. It was a long and terrible march for the Navaho, kind of like the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Once back home they never made too much trouble again and found ways to fit into the white mans world. The Navaho were the Code Talkers for the US Marine Corps in the Pacific theater in World War ll. The Japanese never broke their code. Lots of history in New Mexico dealing with the Indians, are you going to Santa Fe sometime…you should I think?

    • edlfrey says:

      A slight correction to what Rattlesnake Joe has said about the Navajo relocation.
      “The “Long Walk” started in the beginning of spring in 1864. Bands of Navajo led by the Army were relocated from their traditional lands in eastern Arizona Territory and western New Mexico Territory to Fort Sumner (in an area called the Bosque Redondo or Hwéeldi by the Navajo) in the Pecos River valley.[NM not TX]… The march was one that was very difficult and pushed many Navajos to their breaking point, including death. “

    • Rattlesnake Joe says:

      Ops…I guess when I mention Texas I do tend to stretch my yarns a might to fit that great state of the union, in this case instead of Tall tale it should be Long. I didn’t mean to revise history, just getting old I guess…thanks Edlfrey for getting it straight.

  28. Nancy from South Georgia says:

    “Reggie’s NOGGIN”…I haven’t heard that term in a long time. My grandma used to say “did you fall and hit your little noggin?” and I just thought it was the funniest word. She used a lot of funny ones, such as “frock” for dress, and “chaps” for children.

    My lab/collie had one of those knots on his head like the one on Reggie, and I called it his “knowledge knot”. Supposedly a sign of intelligence in a dog according to what I’ve heard from some source in the past which I cannot remember.

    Glad you guys have that Wave gas heater to keep you cozy. I’m going to have some work done this summer on my RV, some mods such as water heater, shower nozzle update, and a Wave 3 installation. I’ll order the things from Amazon through your link, Sue. Yours is my favorite of all the RV blogs I read.

    • MB from VA says:

      My grandparents used “noggin” too. “Did you knock a knot on your noggin?” And my grandfather used “chaps” occasionally for children/young people….but mostly when he wasn’t pleased with their behavior. 😉 Funny what you remember, huh? Have a great day down there in GA!

      • Nancy from South Georgia says:

        Right back atcha, MB! Hope you’re having the same wonderful mild spring weather that we’re having here in Georgia. VA is such a beautiful state.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thank you very much, Nancy!

  29. Elizabeth in WA says:

    Glad you are safe and hopefully a bit warmer weather!! A VERY chilly wind going here tonight…and tomorrow was to be warmer??Heh…doubtful. Happy trails!!

  30. MB from VA says:

    Whewwww….hoooooo……Note to self, MB… a heater before you go! 🙂 Last time I was in Grants, there was a prairie dog town right in the middle of the people town….on the main drag…..between two buildings. Loved it. I always stayed in Grants during my cross country trips to AZ. Lynchburg, Virginia…..West Memphis, Arkansas…. El Reno, Oklahoma….. Grants, New Mexico… and a short day to Williams, AZ. Loved every minute! A good memory for today because most of the time my mom was in the seat beside me! I know she always will be. I hope it warms up for you very soon! It is a beautiful spring day here. The rain finally stopped for two days. Have a great day! MB

  31. Susan in Dallas says:

    Snow in May – UG! Loved the picture of the flat top big rock, very pretty.

  32. Geri says:

    SNOW! YIKES! I believe I liked the desert cactus bloom photos much better than the snow photographs Sue! Brrrrr! Near perfect weather here now, low 80’s days and high 5o’s nights! Great story telling today and yep, we are well trained humans too! Radar and Doogie have trained us well when it comes to their food dish!
    The hummingbirds are finally back at their feeders and it’s good to see them here! Chuck even bought a third feeder yesterday!
    Hopefully ya’ll are snug and warm today with abundant sunshine! Hug your babies from us and have a great day Sue!

  33. Corkerinna620 (Mobile AL) says:

    Happy Mother’s Day to Sue & all blogorinas (female)!! 🙂

  34. Renee (Datil/North Ranch) says:

    NM is definitely hit-and-miss for internet. Dave had to climb up a utility pole to put an antenna up there (although we do get a signal if we drive about 1/4 mile up the hill — who wants to do that all day long?). We were east of Albuq dealing with the cold & wind, and snow flurries, while you were in the Grants vicinity. I was surprised when we discovered, the first time we went to Bluewater Lake, that not that far south on Hwy 612, you get back into the tall pines. I’ll bet you aren’t too interested in the higher elevation this time around, since you’re having pretty chilly weather already! Great in the summer, though…

  35. Looks like we nearly passed by you on our re-route east. Saw the bits of snow in the area, but we didn’t stay in Grants this time. Love that little campground in El Morro (we just drove through last time), but also missed the writing on the rock as we got there when the VC was closing. Surprised you didn’t stay put in Fence Lake but looks like it was the right decision for getting you through the snowy cold. Glad you’ve found the elusive internet at last!!

  36. Pat (Freespirit)-in Texas says:

    Again, as always enjoying your pics and musings. That’s just about how much snow I would like to see!! It’s been a long time since I left Michigan behind. I have a question.. who do you use for web hosting, or do you just do it yourself?? If you do it, have you ever run out of space? Take care & enjoy your new place..hugs to Bridget & Reggie…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Pat…

      To answer your question: I pay Hostgator for use of their platform and haven’t “run out of space.”

  37. Jean in Southaven, MS says:

    I am a day late, but that is ok. Your posts don’t go bad. I loved the Elk in the last post and the snow in this post. They are really nice. Reggie sure keeps thing interesting doesn’t he. I love the picture of the back of his head looking out the window. Hope you find the perfect place with the right temps and internet too.

  38. Dawn in NC says:

    Good Morning Sue! I hope that the weather is starting to cooperate with your game plan! So very inconsiderate of it when it doesn’t! I love how you divy up your soup. My cats have me trained as well. Even if it’s just some Ramen noodles, they want some and they want some NOW! I made the mistake of letting them con me into giving them baby food for treats. (One of them was throwing up a lot and I wanted to settle her stomach.) Now, it is the expected demand that all my cats are waking me up for in the morning! I sometimes wonder who really is in charge. Well, I don’t really have to wonder do I 😉 Here’s hoping you have warmer weather and strong internet wherever you are.

  39. rvsueandcrew says:

    Hi, Blogorinos!

    I enjoyed all your comments, as usual. Thank you for the Happy Mother’s Day wishes. I hope yours was good. I am fortunate that I had a devoted mother. I took time away from the blog, hence not all comments received individual replies. Know that I appreciate hearing from you!

    New post is about ready . . . . On your mark, get set . . . . 🙂


  40. Carol says:

    I enjoy so much A day in the life of RV SUE and her canine crew. What fun adventures you and your furry crew are having! We are part timers and looking forward to our next adventure. Just not sure when or where.

Comments are closed.